The financial sector was rocked by the news of Zee Entertainment merging with Sony India entertainment, a merger that practically no one saw coming. On 22nd September news broke out that Sony’s India entertainment unit be buying the majority shares into one of their biggest local rivals that is Zee Entertainment.
As per reports, now Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), a unit of Japan’s Sony Group Corp will own a whopping 53% total shares of the shares in Zee Entertainment company.
This merger will result in the merging of the TV channels operated by both the units, film assets, streaming platforms and more. It means that all channels and OTT platforms like SonyMAX, Zee TV, ZEE5, SonyLIV and more will come under the same banner.
This deal comes not long after there was much buzz around Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) and a management change that it would be going through.
A Complete 180 Being Done
Just till last week, ZEEL was in the news for completely different reasons with the board wanting to reshuffle the management and Punit Goenka’s future in the company uncertain.
Many financial experts and analysts believed that the board was trying to remove many top executives including CEO Punit Goenka with several other conglomerates thought to be buying heavy shares into ZEEL.
A lot even were sure that Goenka’s days at the company were numbered and he would soon lose his position in ZEEL.
This, however, completely turned it around with Geonka’s CEO and MD position being secured for the next five years and Sony believed to be doing a complete turnaround of the board with new members coming in.
Sony according to reports is going to be investing almost $1.575 billion into this new merger. Shares of Zee skyrocketed as soon as the news came out with a rise of 35% being seen leading to a market capitalisation of nearly $4.5 billion.
Sony TV has certainly had a very eventful journey in India with ZEE TV being a market leader when it had first launched in 1995. Along with that there was also a time when Jackie Shroff was associated with the unit by being one of its early investors.
Sony TV And Jackie Shroff
Bollywood actor Jackie Shroff is known for many roles, but there was a time when some believed that he actually owned Sony TV. While not entirely true, it wasn’t also fully untrue since Shroff and his wife Ayesha Dutt both owned a 10% stake jointly in Sony TV from the day it launched till 2012.
Their 15 year-long association with the company came to an end in 2012 when Sony Pictures Television (SPT) bought out all of their Indian promoters of Multi-Screen Media (MSM).
At that time there were seven Indian promoters, Rakesh Agarwal (Singapore-based investment banker), Raman Maroo (Shemaroo Films Managing Director), Sudesh Iyer (World Media Group), Jackie Shroff (actor) and Sadanand Sule (businessman), who altogether owned around 32% shares in Sony Entertainment Television India.
SPT bought all these shareholders out for a combined sum of $271 million (about Rs 1,512 crore).
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